The commotion of everyday life keeps whirling around us and can easily carry us away like the force of a swirling tornado. We are caught off guard by a personal crisis, a death in the family, or even natural disasters like earthquakes and floods. Life deals us many difficult challenges and curve balls.
It is easy to feel lost and inadequate in the face of such events. We hold on to our simran and trust in the Master to help us through all of this. From our limited perspective, it is hard to fathom why things happen the way they do. However, instead of over-analyzing these events, the Masters advise us to channelize our emotions towards the Lord.
Keeping close contact with the Lord helps us face the frantic fury of these events in our lives. We are reminded by the mystics that He alone is our true friend who is with us in this world and beyond.
Master doesn’t ever turn his back on us. The Master is constantly helping us to rise above the weaknesses which are torturing us and making us miserable in this world.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Die to Live
All these events are daily reminders to the soul, that nothing here is permanent. Nothing here brings real peace or happiness. And we can feel the Lord’s presence in our life by sharing all our life experiences with him.
Although it is important to establish that vital habit of daily meditation, the Lord wants more than just an appointment in our schedule. He wants to be included in every activity, problem and conversation. The Lord wants to be invited into our hearts and he wants us to be aware of his presence.
There is a wonderful book called The Practice of the Presence of God, written by a seventeenth-century French monk called Brother Lawrence, who was a humble cook in a French monastery. He was able to convert even the most regular and menial tasks like washing and cleaning into acts of service for the Lord. He explains in the book that the key is not changing what we do, but in changing our attitude.
Baba Jaimal Singh also advised that it is important to keep the Master as our focus in whatever work we do:
All work is his work; remain happy wherever he keeps you, and take on whatever work you do as the Satguru’s work….
The worldly obligations you are fulfilling are all essentially spiritual. Do not allow the self to intrude; everything is the Satguru’s work.
Similarly, in The Book of Mirdad it is written that our every thought and word should be a prayer to the Lord. All our actions in life should be lived with love and devotion for the Lord. Maharaj Charan Singh explains the text from The Book of Mirdad as follows:
What Mirdad means is that our whole life should be a prayer. There’s no question of devoting half an hour or an hour of praying to the Lord – our whole day should be passed in prayer, in devotion and love for the Father. Prayer means just to live in love and devotion for the Father. That’s constant prayer. No particular words are required; no set prayers are required to be repeated. It should be a prayer from the heart.
Die to Live
Today we often feel we need to ‘get away’ from our daily routine in order to achieve this, but that is because we have not learned to practise his presence all the time. Devotion of the Lord is not an event to attend, but a perpetual attitude. This is because the Lord is closer to us than our own breath. He is our life force, the Shabd that permeates every molecule of matter.
The power within is not ignorant of what you are doing.
It is with you and constantly watches you and guides you.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Spiritual Gems
The Masters are full of love and mercy for their disciples. And just as a parent keeps a close and watchful eye on his child, the Master is closer to us than we can imagine, and he is ever watchful. We only have to acknowledge his constant presence in every facet of our lives. There are many subtle hints and nuances where it is self-evident that he has softened the blows of painful times. He is our protector and our loving Father. We only have to turn to him within, to realize his presence.
I keep myself in his presence by simple attentiveness and a loving gaze upon God, which I can call the actual presence of God or, to put it more clearly, a habitual, silent and secret conversation of the soul with God.
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God